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New Mexico’s Breaking Bad Statues Draw Ire of Republicans Already Fuzzy on Fact vs. Fiction

“We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers"

breaking bad statues republicans new mexico reality fiction albuquerque
Photo via Thomas Schnauz / Twitter
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    Prominent conservatives have spent more than a year trying to convince themselves that Trump won the 2020 election, so it’s no surprise that the fictional, morally-gray world of Breaking Bad presents an intellectual obstacle course. After Albuquerque, New Mexico erected statues of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, Republican politicians, regional talk radio hosts, and now Fox News have tried to frame this mildly amusing tourist trap as a capital-T Threat to America.

    The statues were commissioned by Sony Pictures Television without the aid of taxpayer money and unveiled at the end of July. Democrat mayor Tim Keller touted the $400 million in production fees and tourism dollars that Breaking Bad had already invested in the Albuquerque community. “While the stories might be fictional… jobs are real every single day,” he said.

    Some residents agree. “That brings people here, it provides Old Town with an income, it provides me with an income,” said candy shop owner Debbie Hall.

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    However, Republican State Representative Rod Montoya has criticized the statues, incredulously asking Fox News, “We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?”

    And the most apocalyptic takes have come from Eddy Aragon, a conservative talk radio host who ran for mayor against Tim Keller and came in a distant third place. Sounding like a character himself, perhaps ripped from the pages of The Onion, Aragon doesn’t understand why statues of fictional television people are ok but real-life genocidal slavers are not.

    Aragon referenced the 2020 removal of a statue commemorating Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate, who murdered close to a thousand Acoma people, enslaved survivors, and cut off their toes, before being exiled by the Spanish government for “excessive force.” The talk radio host said, “We have now erected statues and our progressive mayor from the city of Albuquerque has stood behind them. We’re funding those, so it’s OK to go get rid of real historical figures and now, somehow it’s even better, to [have] fictional, drug-dealing figures.”

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